NASA Spots Asteroid Hurtling Towards Earth — Explodes Over Carribean Sea

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NASA recently spotted a space rock that was hurtling towards our planet before it entered the atmosphere. The space agency also released new details of the discovery of a mysterious flash over the Carribean Sea on June 22.

NASA Spots Asteroid Hurtling Towards Earth — Explodes Over Carribean

 

NASA can spot objects before they collide with the Earth, even though it has no way of deflecting asteroids on a collision course with our planet. The space agency managed to spot an asteroid speeding towards the Earth before it broke up in the atmosphere.

NASA spotted the unusual activity using a lightning detector on a weather satellite. Further examination revealed that the flash was a result of an asteroid skimming through Earth's atmosphere.

NASA's planetary defense system successfully spotted 310,000 miles from Earth, according to a survey by a team of astronomers from the University of Hawaii. Previously, it was suggested that the planetary defense system isn't capable of identifying small rocks. However, the recent discovery of the asteroid contradicts the notion.

As for the asteroid, it was 5 meters in size. "If it had been bigger, the object could have caused some serious damage and we would have no warning of an imminent impact 'Asteroids this size are far smaller than what we're tasked to track," said Davide Farnocchia, a NASA scientist.

"They're so small, they would not survive passing through our atmosphere to cause damage to Earth's surface. But this event shows how capable our search programs are, even for objects of such small sizes," he added.

Besides, NASA is building eight new research teams that will research about the Moon. The research will also include near-Earth asteroids, and the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos.

The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) will be helping the teams for the next five years with the combined total reaching up to USD 10.5 million per year. The research will be funded by the space agency's Science and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorates, NASA said.

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